Antibiotic Use and Antimicrobial Resistance of Surgical Patients with Peritonitis at a Tertiary Referral Hospital in Rwanda

Jennifer Rickard, Christian Ngarambe, Leonard Ndayizeye, Blair Smart, Robert Riviello, Jean Paul Majyambere, Rahel G. Ghebre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: There is growing recognition of the worsening problem of antibiotic resistance and the need for antibiotic stewardship in low-resource settings. The aim of this study was to describe antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance in patients undergoing surgery for peritonitis at a Rwandan referral hospital. Patients and Methods: All surgical patients with peritonitis at a Rwandan referral hospital were enrolled. Prospective data were collected on epidemiology, clinical features, interventions, and outcomes. Antibiotic agents were prescribed and cultures were collected according to surgeon discretion. High risk for antibiotic treatment failure or death was defined as patients with severe sepsis, older than 70 years of age, tumor, or operating room delay more than 24 hours from hospital admission. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with high risk of antibiotic treatment failure or death. Results: Over a six-month period, 280 patients underwent operation for peritonitis; 79 patients were excluded because no infectious etiology was identified at operation. Data on antibiotic usage were available for 165 patients. The most common diagnoses were intestinal obstruction (n = 43) and appendicitis (n = 36). Most patients received antibiotic agents, the most of of which being third-generation cephalosporins (n = 149; 90%) and metronidazole (n = 140; 85%). The mean duration of antibiotics was 5.1 days (range: 0-14). Overall, 80 (54%) patients were high-risk for antibiotic treatment failure or death. Risk for antibiotic treatment failure or death was associated with localized peritonitis (p = 0.001) and high American Society of Anesthesiologist score (p = 0.003). Cultures were collected from 33 patients and seven patients had an organism isolated. Escherichia coli was identified in in five surgical specimens and two 2 urine cultures. All Escherichia coli specimens showed resistance to cephalosporins. Conclusions: Broad antibiotic coverage with third-generation cephalosporins and metronidazole is common in Rwandan surgical patients with peritonitis. Areas for improvement should focus on choice and duration of antibiotic agents, tailored to underlying diagnosis and risk factors for antibiotic treatment failure or death. More data are needed on antibiotic resistance patterns to guide antimicrobial therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-387
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical infections
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for Rwanda Human Resources for Health Program was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Rwanda
  • antibacterial agents
  • drug resistance microbial
  • global surgery
  • intra-abdominal infection
  • peritonitis


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